Library Acquires St. Joseph Record

Dec 16, 2013

The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library at Illinois has recently acquired The St. Joseph Record from the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library. The print run of this newspaper includes 96 bound volumes from 1894 to 1980.

This fall, Susan McKinney, librarian and director at the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library, inquired with the University Library about transferring the newspapers to the University to better preserve them and to maximize their availability. Considering its importance for local Illinois history, the University Library responded quickly and proposed to house the collection.

“On behalf of the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library, I’m excited that the University of Illinois has taken ownership of these important newspapers of historical value and that they will permanently reside in a climate-controlled environment,” said McKinney.

Like almost all newspapers of its era, The St. Joseph Record was printed on inexpensive, mass-produced, wood-pulp paper. Its chemical properties cause it to become increasingly acidic and to deteriorate as it ages, especially under conditions which, because they are most conducive to human comfort, are typically found in libraries.

“Although it is impossible to reverse the deterioration of paper, we can slow that process by controlling the conditions in which the paper is stored,” said Marek Sroka, newspaper librarian at Illinois. “The St. Joseph Record will be housed in a state-of-the-art storage facility specifically designed for the long-term preservation of paper-based documents (minimal exposure to ultraviolet- and infrared-emitting light, a stable temperature of about 50° Fahrenheit, and a stable relative humidity of about 30%).

To access issues of The St. Joseph Record, make arrangements with History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library staff by calling (217) 333-1509 or emailing hpnl@library.illinois.edu.

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